Race, Culture & Ethnicity

Blake Wood

The nation's oldest civil rights organization, the NAACP, and Illinois police officials announced Thursday an agreed upon resolution they say took years to hash out. The "affirmation of shared principles" was inspired in part by the death of Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

A provision in the U.S tax code that bars churches and charities from engaging in political campaigns remains intact, more than a year after President Trump pledged to "get rid of and totally destroy" it.

Under the Johnson Amendment, named for its 1954 legislative sponsor, then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, religious and nonprofit organizations can lose their tax-exempt status if they engage in activity "on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office."

To reach the Martinez home in Puerto Rico's central mountains, social worker Eileen Calderon steers around piles of dirt, treacherous potholes and power company trucks that block the road. Finally, we pull up to a sagging cement home, the roof done in by Hurricane Maria. Laundry hangs under a tarp, and a cat is tied to a leash outside the door.

Les Payne, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who spent his career at Newsday expanding coverage beyond local issues to include international stories first as a reporter, then as a columnist and editor — all while vehemently crusading for racial equality — has died at his home in Harlem, N.Y. He was 76.

Payne's son Jamal told Newsday that the retired journalist was working on a book about Malcom X when he had a heart attack in his home office Monday evening.

White Skin, Black Emojis?

Mar 21, 2018

Trying to pick the right emoji to convey exactly what you're feeling — excitement, fear, existential dread — can be tough. What makes it more complicated? All those different skin tones.

On Ask Code Switch, we take on your trickiest questions about race and identity. This week, we're tackling a letter from Kristyn Gelfand, 38, in Toronto. She writes:

A Chaplain Talks March Madness

Mar 21, 2018

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For years, religion scholar Bart Ehrman wanted to write a book about the early spread of Christianity, but he shied away from it because the topic seemed too big.

Eventually, Ehrman decided that the massive scope is what made the project so compelling: "The entire history of the West was transformed by the fact that Christianity took over the Roman Empire and then became the dominant religious and political and cultural force in our civilization," he says.

Three militia members accused of plotting to bomb a mosque and apartment complex in southwest Kansas go on trial Tuesday in Wichita.

Their alleged plot, discovered in 2016, laid bare tiny pockets of potentially violent racism in a region that's drawn immigrants from across the world to tough meatpacking jobs for decades.

The raw hate exposed in the alleged plot shocked many of the refugees who were targeted, reminding them of violence they fled in Somalia and sparking an exodus from one of the prairie towns.

A new study conducted by researchers at Stanford, Harvard and the Census Bureau, finds that in 99 percent of neighborhoods in the United States, black boys earn less in adulthood than white boys who come from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. This undermines the widely-held belief that class, not race, is the most fundamental predictor of economic outcomes for children in the U.S.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Sherry Alvarez says she knew there was something different about her son since he was about 9 months old. Back then Sherry says his pediatrician told her there was nothing to worry about, " 'Boys are a little slower than girls, so let's just wait until his second birthday.' " We aren't using Sherry's son's name to protect his privacy.

By her son's second birthday, Sherry says she was getting desperate. She didn't know why he wasn't talking yet or showing affection like other kids. At 2 1/2, he was referred to Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


There are times when we can connect with someone, and then never see them again—a missed connection. We've been trying to help some of you connect with people you've been trying to find.

In the 1970s, two little girls met at an elementary school in Miami, Fla., and became close friends. One was black, and one was white.

Dr. Sharony Green is now an assistant professor of history at the University of Alabama, and she said her friend Beth helped her during a tough time.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Patrick Desbois, a Roman Catholic priest, has spent the last 15 years investigating and uncovering the details of Nazi massacres across Eastern Europe and Russia, crimes known as the "Holocaust by bullets."

During World War II, the Nazis killed some 1.5 million Jews and Roma across the Soviet Union. While the Nazi death camps are well documented, much less has been known about the systematic murdering of Jews in what are today Ukraine, Belarus and Russia and other countries.

Meg Murray from A Wrinkle in Time and Wakandan princess Shuri from Black Panther are a far cry from the typical Disney heroine. In Meg and Shuri, we have two outspoken black girls. This, in itself is a dramatic change for the company: in the past, Disney has rarely celebrated black girls for being smart or self-assured.

Shuri invents the gadgets that her brother T'Challa (aka Black Panther) uses to save the people of Wakanda. Think about it: how would the Black Panther repel all the blows he's dealt without the outfit Shuri created?

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


In Pakistan, devotees gather every Thursday night to honor Lahore's patron Sufi saint. They chant. They drum and dance in a tradition that dates back 450 years. But as NPR's Diaa Hadid reports, activists worry that this soon might come to an end.

Debate On Role Of Islam Divides German Government

Mar 16, 2018

Germany's new minister of interior, Horst Seehofer, has stirred up debate about the role of Islam in Germany.

In an interview with the German newspaper BILD Seehofer said: "Islam is not a part of Germany. Germany has been influenced by Christianity. This includes free Sundays, church holidays and rituals such as Easter, Pentecost and Christmas. However, the Muslims living in Germany obviously do belong to Germany."

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Consequences of Racism.

About Clint Smith's TED Talk

How do you raise a child in a world taught to fear the color of their skin? Poet and writer Clint Smith explains the difficulty of black parenting, and the implications of being black in America.

About Clint Smith

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Consequences of Racism.

About Adam Foss's TED Talk

Former prosecutor Adam Foss lays out the damaging effects an arrest, a criminal record, and a prison sentence can have on marginalized individuals. He argues prosecutors can be at the helm of reform.

About Adam Foss

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Consequences of Racism.

About Dena Simmons's TED Talk

When Bronx-native Dena Simmons received a scholarship to attend a majority white boarding school, she felt like an imposter. Simmons suggests ways students of color can be made to feel more accepted.

About Dena Simmons

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Consequences of Racism.

About Miriam Zoila Pérez's TED Talk

Why do pregnant women of color have different health outcomes from their white counterparts? Writer and activist Miriam Zoila Pérez explains the ways racism manifests for these women and their babies.

About Miriam Zoila Pérez

In one sense, St. Patrick's Day is a failure.

The holiday as we know it in America was promoted by activists to celebrate Irish culture, in order to fight prejudice against Irish immigrants. Today, many of us celebrate by going out drinking and acting out the very stereotypes the day was created to combat.

In the great cultural 'awokening' that has followed the rise of Donald Trump, the stories of Muslim-Americans wrestling with questions of selfhood, belonging, and bigotry have seen their own flowering.

Clare Frachey/PCASA

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and this year's theme is "Embrace Your Voice." Many survivors of sexual assault have done just that over the past several months, due in part to the #MeToo movement. 

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


In its Race Issue, National Geographic magazine examines the state of race relations in the United States, including an acknowledgment of the racism that permeated its own pages for decades. Among the magazine's contributors this month: Michele Norris, former host of NPR's All Things Considered.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


For the 2020 census, the U.S. Census Bureau is changing how it will ask black people to designate their race. Under the check box for "Black or African American," the bureau is adding a new space on the census questionnaire for participants to write in their non-Hispanic origins, according to a recent memo from the head of the 2020 census.